six colors

by Jason Snell & Dan Moren

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Linked by Jason Snell

Who killed the Galaxy Note 7?

Samsung has revealed the results of its failure analysis of the Galaxy Note 7 battery:

Wrapping up its months-long probe, the world’s top smartphone maker said faulty batteries from two suppliers were to blame for a product failure that wiped $5.3 billion off its operating profit.

Samsung mobile chief Koh Dong-jin said procedures had been put in place to avoid a repeat of the fires as the South Korean firm prepares to launch the Galaxy S8, its first premium handset since the Note 7’s demise.

The big problem I see with the reactions to Samsung’s press conference is skepticism on the part of the press. Here’s Joanna Stern and Geoffrey A. Fowler at the Wall Street Journal:

Samsung was clearly serious about investigating the issue with the help of independent experts, but its explanation sometimes left us scratching our heads. While it has developed a new 8-point battery check for future phones, we don’t have a clear sense of whether these tests will raise the bar on safety, or simply catch Samsung up to other premium smartphone makers.

What Samsung is still missing is its Tylenol moment. In 1982, Johnson & Johnson issued a massive recall after seven people died from taking Tylenol products laced with cyanide. It led the company, and then the rest of the industry, to rethink pill packaging. Consumers saw the new seals as a mark of safety and protection. Samsung’s work on a seal that consumers can understand—and bringing about change across the industry—is still incomplete.

If that lack of trust extends to consumers, Samsung will have to spend a whole lot of time and effort before people will take a chance on them again.